Television’s resident nice guy, Michael Vartan, would love to break bad one of these days.

 

“Nice guys are so boring,” he laments. “I’ve been playing them for 20 years now. I feel so lucky to have played them, but c’mon. Let me carry a knife or something.

 

“Switch my stethoscope out for a chainsaw — a different kind of surgeon,” he jokes.

 

That’s not going to happen as the second season of Vartan’s medical drama HawthoRNe comes to a close.

 

But as Dr. Tom Wakefield, the knight in white lab coat opposite Jada Pinkett-Smith’s headstrong nurse Christina Hawthorne, Vartan has been able to mine the less-sterling aspects of his character after Tom suffered a potentially career-ending hand injury and was forced to re-evaluate his life choices.


“You can learn from extreme highs, but also from extreme lows,” he says.


As far as playing that in a character, you just have to put yourself in those persons’ shoes — what are the ramifications of this guy potentially never being able to operate again?


“Well, that would suck,” the 41-year-old explains of his preparation for the role.


“People want to see ugly and messed up and completely chaotic and the overcoming of all that stuff,” Vartan says.


“I’m all for Tom being a lot darker,” he admits. “Make him an alcoholic, make him a druggie — turn hell loose on him.”